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Honesty best policy in seeking the right public relations job

Communications professionals are masters of the spoken and written word. They love to mould ideas into exquisite bonbons of strategic plans, presentations and press releases that leave clients or superiors consistently impressed with their command of language and creativity.

When presenting one’s own professional credentials, however, caution must be exercised. There is no room in a job search to massage or embellish one’s work or education experiences. As someone who recruits communications professionals, I seek resumes and people that tell it like it is. If you didn’t finish university for whatever reason, put it on paper. Don’t fudge a degree or certificate you don’t have. If you were let go from a previous job as part of a corporate restructuring, just say so. Don’t pretend you left on your own accord.

Employers have a sixth sense when it comes to stories that don’t “sound right.” They will wonder what else is true or exaggerated on your resume. If you do get the job, those who play games with the truth while job hunting can find themselves out of work when a new employer uncovers falsehoods.

What’s more, be frank about your availability and interest in the position. If you are the sole caregiver for three children at home and will need some flexibility in hours worked to meet the time demands of your family, tell the employer. There is nothing worse than someone stating they are available 24/7 when in fact a nine-to-five day is all the person can manage. Employers are well aware that people have lives outside of their jobs, and that each person’s devotion to their job and personal life is unique.

On the other hand, should you be exceedingly driven, free to work as many hours as you’d like and have a desire to one day sit in the CEO’s chair, don’t be afraid to state it. There are never enough exceptional people in any organization. Once in the door, however, you will need to live up to the hype.

The best way to get and keep the right job is to maintain an honest and open approach. Apply for jobs you would like to perform. Don’t apply to anything and everything. You could find yourself in the role of corporate spokesperson for an undergarment retailer when all you really wanted to do was investor relations for a mining company.

Finally, consider what matters most to you in a job environment. Do you prefer a professional corporate office or a relaxed, hipster setting where people come and go at all hours of the day and night?

Stay focused on who you really are, what you aspire to do and how much of your life you wish to dedicate to your job. Articulate that to potential employers. It will help you land the most appropriate job for your needs and abilities. Happy hunting!

Sandra Upeslacis is the Manager of Talent Retention and Acquisition at NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada’s largest public relations firm with more than 325 employees in nine offices across Canada, in London and New York. www.national.ca . Email, [email protected]

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